MP3 Pro!

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  • SiliGoose
    Senior Member
    • Aug 2000
    • 942

    MP3 Pro!

    Just downloaded the new version of MusicMatch and found out it supports MP3 Pro. I've been waiting for this format to become more widespread for the past year. Generally I prefer WinAmp but I haven't seen a MP3 Pro plug-in for it yet.

    It promises much smaller file sizes with better sound quality. MusicMatch 7.2 does both CBR and VBR MP3 Pro encoding. I'm ripping a few albums right now so I haven't heard the results yet.

    I hope they can compete with my LAME encoded VBR MP3's.




    -Sili
    www.campmurphy.net
  • SiliGoose
    Senior Member
    • Aug 2000
    • 942

    #2
    I haven't yet compared the results directly to the source CD but the results so far are pretty impressive.

    I ripped David Bowie's new Heathen CD to 96kbps CBR MP3 Pro (the highest bit rate offered) and have enjoyed the results so far.

    Also of note is that the file is still playable as a regular MP3 (it even retains the .mp3 extension). I was able to open the MP3 Pro files in WinAmp (which is not MP3 Pro compliant) and play it -though with reduced sound quality. So, MP3 Pro files ought to work fine on existing MP3 devices.

    The file sizes are consistent with what you would find when using 128kbps MP3 files -around 2.5 MB per song. However, that's not really a fair comparison of file size. The 96kbps bit rate I recorded at is roughly equivellant to 320kbps on normal MP3's. I suspect that had I used the 64kbps bit rate for the MP3 Pro rips the average file size would have hovered around 1.8 MB per song.

    It's pretty much .wma file sizes with even better sound quality...though I still haven't compared to the CD.




    -Sili
    www.campmurphy.net

    Comment

    • SiliGoose
      Senior Member
      • Aug 2000
      • 942

      #3
      Having a good time replying to my own post!

      Ok, I ripped the excellent Bowie cover of Cactus (originally recorded by one of my favorite bands, the Pixies) from the Heathen album. I encoded it in several formats/bit rates. Here are the formats compared:

      1. MP3 @ 128 kbps CBR LAME encoder
      2. MP3 @ 160 kbps VBR LAME encoder
      3. MP3 Pro @ 64 kbps CBR
      4. MP3 Pro @ 96 kbps CBR
      5. MP3 Pro @ 100% VBR
      6. Original CD

      I have a Hercules GameTheaterXP soundcard with a digital coax out. That output is connected to my HT (see my profile for details). Each file was compared to the original CD which was also connected to my Anthem via digital coax. I was able to switch back and forth between the MP3 input and the CD input with a single button press.
      The track was ripped from the original CD to .wav using EAC. The .wav was then converted to each compressed format. Standard MP3 formatted files were encoded with EAC using an external LAME encoder. MP3 Pro files were encoded using MusicMatch.


      1. MP3 @ 128 kbps CBR LAME encoder
      The 128kbps MP3 is probably what comes to mind when most people think about MP3. It's suitable for headphones while working out but not much else, IMO. I could not use this setting for daily listening.
      File size: 2.733 MB

      2. MP3 @ 160 kbps VBR LAME encoder
      This is how I have all of my digital music stored (approx. 4,000 tracks on a dedicated hard drive). This is a variable bit rate setting meaning throughout the track the bit rate can go up or down -depending upon the requirements of the audio information. This setting maximizes sound quality and hard drive space. The 160kbps setting means the encoder will not allow the bit rate drop below 160kbps -yet the bit rate can climb as high as the 320kbps maximum of MP3.
      Prior to the introduction of the Anthem pre/pro into my system I could not hear a difference between this type of MP3 and the original CD. For whatever reason, the addition of a quality pre/pro has made the difference very obvious: bass lacks the life of the original CD, there is a certain 'air' missing in the initial acoustic guitar at the start of the track, there is a definite loss of atmosphere (vague, I know but it's tough to describe without sounding like an ignorant HT magazine reviewer ).
      I could live with this format in most situations other than critical listening.
      File size: 3.903 MB

      3. MP3 Pro @ 64 kbps CBR
      This one didn't quite match up to the VBR MP3. It was tough to tell if it was better or worse than the 128kbps MP3.
      File size: 1.367 MB

      4. MP3 Pro @ 96kbps CBR
      96kbps is the highest bit rate available for MP3 Pro. I tried very hard to hear a difference between this format and the original CD. Alas, I could hear no discernable differences. It rendered everything as the original CD did. Perhaps I need another upgrade before my system can allow me to hear a difference.
      File size: 2.050 MB (amazing!)

      5. MP3 Pro at 100% VBR
      I honestly don't know exactly what this setting does. What "100%" means I have no idea. At any rate I could not distinguish this setting from the original CD or the 96kbps MP3 Pro setting. The fact that this setting yeilded the same audio performance at a larger file size means I won't be using it.
      File size: 2.910 MB

      In case you're interested, the .wav file from the source CD was 30.117 MB in size.

      I will be using the MP3 Pro 96kbps scheme to archive my audio from this point forward. Not only does it equal the source CD it also takes up less space than a standard 128kbps MP3! A new king has certainly been crowned, IMO.




      -Sili
      www.campmurphy.net

      Comment

      • SiliGoose
        Senior Member
        • Aug 2000
        • 942

        #4
        I moved this thread to 'Home Theater' because I feel the audio quality is far removed from what most expect from "compressed computer audio". Since I conducted the above experiment in my HT the thread seemed to make more sense here than in 'Tower of Power'.




        -Sili
        www.campmurphy.net

        Comment

        • JonMarsh
          Mad Max Moderator
          • Aug 2000
          • 15213

          #5
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          Comment

          • SiliGoose
            Senior Member
            • Aug 2000
            • 942

            #6
            Why compress?
            Because a 60GB HD would only hold 1/2 my music uncompressed.
            Because I can quickly throw anything I want on my portable player.
            Because the sound is (surprisingly) just as good.
            Because it's fun to play around with.




            -Sili
            www.campmurphy.net

            Comment

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